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Cult Med Psychiatry. 2007 Sep;31(3):389-402.

Explaining mental health treatment disparities: ethnic and cultural differences in family involvement.

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  • 1Center for Mental Health Services Research, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


In a large, representative sample of persons receiving public mental health treatment, we examined whether ethnic minority consumers were more likely than white consumers to live with their families and to receive family support. We then evaluated whether differences observed in family involvement explained treatment disparities observed in outpatient and inpatient mental health services. Results indicated that Asian American and Latino consumers, especially, were considerably more likely than white consumers to live with family members and to receive family support. Ethnocultural differences in living with family did explain treatment intensity disparities whether or not consumers described themselves as dependent on family support. The results support the hypothesis that cultural differences in family involvement and support play a role in explaining mental health treatment disparities.

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